Georgia on my mind

August 9, 2008

The Georgian President has just declared a state of war with Russia.

The region they are fighting over is South Ossetia, an autonomous region in Georgia which unilaterally declared independence from Georgia last year. Its declaration has not been recognised by any member of the UN as valid, as its referendums on the matter are not regarded as valid.

Russia holds the neighbouring region of North Ossetia.

Map of Georgia and neighbouring Russian regions

Georgian military moved into South Ossetia claiming the Russians have violated Georgian air space, coincidentally as the world’s attention was focussed on the Olympics instead.

Now the Russians have responded with air raids killing thousands. Around 30 000 Ossetians have fled.

It seems that Russian hackers have also crippled the Georgian .ge domain, making Georgian information from the internet extremely hard to find.

The U.S. educated Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, has called for his troops to be removed from Iraq.

The Georgians are allies of America and Saakashvili has called for American support against Russia. There is a Georgian now representing the U.S. at archery in the Olympics.

America has so far just called for a ceasefire, so far unheeded.

Whether the Americans will actually enter the conflict is doubtful. They already have troops battling in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Perhaps the conflict can only be resolved by organising a UN organised referendum to the people of South Ossetia, with both Georgia and Russia promising to recognise the result. If the previous referendums are an indication then South Ossetia would be a free independent country.

However, both Russia and Georgia would be against this.

Georgia would lose territory and give impetus to two other autonomous regions in its borders Abkhazia and Adjara to follow the same route.

Russia would be concerned that an independent Ossetian state in the south, would ultimately lead to the loss of its region of North Ossetia wishing to join the new country. It would also give impetus to Chechnya and possibly other Caucaus regions to declare independence from Russia.

Meanwhile, the South Ossetians are caught in the crossfire between the war and politics of Georgia and Russia.

Literally.